Monday, December 9, 2013

Time Crapse

Well, the time lapse camera project was a total dud.

A bit of a bummer, considering how much I was looking forward to seeing it, but it yielded some valuable lessons for me. I set this camera up one week after we began the official build. That was at the end of April. I took the camera down just last week. My first red flag was the fact that upon checking the SD card- only about 9000 images were found. I did the quick math, based on my parameters for the camera (every 5 minutes from 9am to 9pm each day) I should have had WAY more than 9000.

It's somewhat difficult to understand that a camera has dead batteries when the display still turns on for you. I would intermittently check and the camera would respond. The last images were taken in the middle of July. So we got the bulk of the exterior build on camera. It turned out to be fine since the camera is only from the outside. By that point, we were working on the inside and it wouldn't have caught it anyway.

Dan adding twine to give more support
and cover up the rough cuts. 

I was even more disappointed as I opened up the images to take a peak. The stinkin' view finder on the camera is off center. So while I thought I had a nice (fairly tight) shot of the house, turns out the bottom inch of my view finder is cut out. So for the first several weeks, all you see in the pictures are the woods. The trailer is cut out. Then you can start to see the tippy top of the tarp when we began piling supplies on the trailer.

The man and his ladder!
This is one of those rare (okay maybe not that rare) “You dummy!” moments for me. I spent so much time imagining how awesome this time lapse was going to come out that I did no THINKING on the subject. I learned a lot from this small experience. As I put all the pics into the time lapse software, I began experimenting with the number of frames per second. I found a speed that I liked, but it would have been a 12 minute video, with about 80% of your time staring at trees slowly growing leaves. I tried speeding it up more, so that there would be less woods staring....all that did was make the weekends of work go by in a blip. Finally, quite frustrated, I went through and deleted about 4000 images...all of which were just trees (or the house) sitting there untouched Monday through Friday. This brought the video down to about 4 minutes, and I slowed the speed back down, but still there's a lot of just staring at an untouched project, and then quick bursts of activity. Not exactly the dynamic, epic, mesmerizing, inspiring vision that I imagined. I realized that I was taking my memories and experiences of this build, and expecting them to somehow show through in a four minute video of 2 dimensional pictures from a single not-so-great vantage point. Yea-- not gonna happen.

Here is what I have learned:
*Projects that are over the course of 12 months, but only on weekends, will not make for a nice time lapse candidate.

*Always do a test run.

*Set up the camera to view a MUCH LARGER area, not just a tight shot. We did so much work in the yard RIGHT NEXT TO the trailer, but because the shot is a small field, the camera missed all of that.

I'm choosing to take away the positives from this. Yes, it was crappy to find out the whole thing was a bust, but it was nice to learn some valuable concepts and I'm excited to set up my time lapse camera for smaller projects that would be better suited. I'm also happy to know that this camera truly is weather proof. It was out there in all extremes and kept on working. I have thousands upon thousands of photos meticulously organized, saved, backed up, and saved some more from every last day we worked. So I don't really feel much of a loss. Yes, it would have been nice to have one more bit of media to share, but you aren't missing much. Trust me.

Adam helping Dan with the lights.

Over the past week, we've been working away on odd jobs and getting the house in the Christmas spirit. I never used to be much of a fan of Christmas, but over the last few years I've really grown to enjoy it. This year, I was actually excited to set things up and did it shortly after Turkey day!!! (This is big for someone coming from a household where the tree usually went up on about the 20th of December and came down on the 26th.)

Dan and I initially came up with some completely over the top way to display the tree in our limited space. I won't even go into it since it was so ridiculous. Haha It was one of those ideas thought up late in the day, and seemed totally fabulous. Then you wake up the next morning and start thinking about how you will make it a reality and you realize-- wow, this is way too much work, especially for something temporary. After a few minutes of thought, we found a much better way. One that required no purchase of materials or building- our favorite kind.

Over the last week, Dan also completed the ladder and his first drawer! And he did a great job! The ladder was one of those small but mighty improvements. Getting into the loft is much smoother and easier. Getting down has vastly improved too. Under the fridge was a tricky area to build a drawer for, but he accounted for every detail. Looking at his work, I never would have guessed this was his first drawer. Now that the drawer under the fridge is in place, the only carpentry left is the set of kitchen drawers and some trim in a few places. Holy crap we are almost done the inside!!

We also found our desk chair. Another great thrift store find! I plan to re-upholster the chair and use a material that would go well with the colors so far. We are both pretty sick of staring at those black folding chairs, plus we never realized how wonderful a chair with arms can be! We often fight (playfully) over who gets to sit in it.

This past weekend, Dan and I finally did something that's been on the list for a while. We cleaned and organized my Dad's garage. At one point, there was barely room to move in there with all of our supplies, plus everything else that was already piled up in there. It took the bulk of the day, but we emptied the place out, swept, re-organized all of our tools and supplies, and I even started a bag of returns. In our daze of building, we would often buy smaller things repeatedly, because we couldn't remember if we had any left. Staying organized the whole way through would have remedied this to some extent, but no harm done if it can be returned!

I ended up returning an LED light, several brackets we were going to use in the loft, a ton of corner brackets and bracing bars, and more miscellaneous hardware pieces. We walked out of there $65 richer! I like to think of it as karma sending us a reward for sticking it out and getting that cleaning done.

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The garage at one of it's peak bad moments.

Ta-daaa! All clean! Now there is an actual work space!

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